In the new article “Understanding How e-Health Intervention Meets Psychosocial Needs of Breast Cancer Patients: The Pathways of Influence on Quality of Life and Cancer Concerns” in the journal Psycho-Oncology, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group found that using e-health interventions can help patients improve cancer information management skills and emotional functioning, contributing to better short-term health outcomes.
Objective: This investigation explores how using different e-health interventions facilitates positive psychosocial changes and how these changes reduce cancer concerns and improve quality of life in breast cancer patients over time.
Methods: A total of 326 breast cancer patients were randomly assigned to one of three e-health interventions: (a) Internet only, (b) the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System information and support services (CHESS-IS), or (c) CHESS with mentor. Proximal health outcomes such as information overload, emotional functioning, and social support were measured alongside distal outcomes like cancer concerns and quality of life. Participants completed surveys at four time points: pretest as a baseline, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.
Results: Both interventions were effective in improving patient health beyond Internet only but they differed in type of change mechanism and clinical benefit. The CHESS-IS enhanced proximal outcomes at 3 months through improved information competence. The CHESS with mentor intervention reduced breast cancer concerns at 6 months, mediated mainly by emotional-social competence and emotional functioning.
Conclusions: Using e-health interventions like CHESS can help patients improve cancer information management skills and emotional functioning, contributing to better short-term health outcomes. Adding a human mentor can enhance the benefits of CHESS use, extending the experience among breast cancer patients. Theoretical, practical, and clinical implications of the study results are discussed.
Full citation: “Understanding How e-Health Intervention Meets Psychosocial Needs of Breast Cancer Patients: The Pathways of Influence on Quality of Life and Cancer Concerns,” Sojung Kim, Robert P. Hawkins, Dhavan V. Shah, David H. Gustafson, and Timothy Baker, Psycho-Oncology, 29: 1704-1712, October 2020. DOI: 10.1002/pon.5512.
Access the article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32779223/